The recent scandal about the IRS specifically targeting Tea Party for extra scrutiny when applying for tax-exempt status, is only a scandal because IRS investigators were stupid about the way they did it. The reason I say this because I feel that many of these Tea Party groups are not only are undeserving of tax-exempt status, but downright dangerous. Any group of people who think it’s appropriate and necessary to show up at a town hall meeting about healthcare reform, armed with a variety of assault weapons and handguns, is potentially dangerous and bears watching.
Don’t get me wrong because I consider myself to be very firm civil libertarian who believes in the U.S. Constitution much more than I do the Bible, but I also admit that there are times when certain people or groups need to be watched and monitored. Members of the Tea Party are one such group. Even though I truly hate Uncle Sam’s overbearing attitude and “Big Brother ” mentality, as a practical person, I will get that there are times when government scrutiny unnecessary. Maybe I would feel differently if some of the Tea Party rhetoric wasn’t so toxic and laced with violence.
The primary reason that this whole thing has blown out of proportion into a scandal is because of the IRS’s own ineptitude and bungling about the way they handled this entire situation. All they would’ve had to do is simply explain why these Tea Party groups were being scrutinized. Under the law, they were within their rights and duties to scrutinize these groups, just as they are to investigate any group that applies for any type of nonprofit status. In fact, if they didn’t investigate these groups they would be remiss in their duties.
Instead of simply stating this taking a solid position by their actions, they chose to fall all over themselves apologizing and acting like a bunch of little children who got caught with their hands in the cookie jar.
The IRS should be very embarrassed to even call themselves professionals at this point. These are the types of idiots who are responsible for collecting the tax revenues this country uses to perform its various functions and responsibilities.
Ever since September 11, 2001, Uncle Sam has used the horrible terrorist attack on the World Trade Center as just another excuse to stifle political dissent. It’s as though some dark force is blatantly trying to repeal the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Every time someone says anything about bombs, explosives, or anything that even remotely implies that the federal government is wrong about anything, the FBI And Homeland Security jumps into action. Unfortunately, the only action that they jump into is violating someone’s civil rights.
Police and other authorities have also used 9/11, as some type of lame pretext to crack down on any type of political protest, particularly the Occupy Movement. Some of the most ugly riots to take place in this country since the 60s, have taken place at Occupy protests. The unprecedented violence at these protests, have as usual, been mostly instigated by the police. They have even had the unmitigated gall to declare certain areas as “free speech zones.”
As an American citizen who believes in every letter of the U.S. Constitution, I’m totally outraged by this fact. How dare they even attempt to declare a “free speech zone?” Isn’t the entire United States a free speech zone? Who in the hell do the cops that they are to say otherwise?
This entire country is turning into something out of a George Orwell novel, and it scares the hell out of me that the country that I love and cherish so much is fast becoming a police state. If Thomas Jefferson knew about any of this, he would be spinning in his grave like a top. I’m also sure that he would be equally outraged as any American citizen truly should be.
I’m extremely thankful that Sen. Bernie Sanders ( I – VT) is finding a pitched battle to save Social Security from being cut, as proposed by President Obama, in his attempt to appease the right-wing GOP in Congress. Sen. Sanders makes some extremely good points about why cutting Social Security is totally unnecessary and unjustified, as you will read in the story, I gave you the link to above.
President Barack Obama is still being very stubborn about his proposal to cut Social Security benefits, by using the chained CPI (Consumer Price Index) as the method, the government will use when calculating benefits and cost of living adjustments (COLAS). This is an absolutely horrible idea because the chained CPI is very inaccurate and unfair because of the many things that it doesn’t take into account when calculating the untrue consumer price index, and the actual amount that things actually cost.
The chained CPI works under the premise that if people don’t have enough money to buy a particular item, they will be forced to buy a cheaper item. In many cases, a cheaper item isn’t an option because there simply isn’t one. Most of us on social security are already forced to buy the cheapest items. I suppose the government expects us to do without, just because a cheaper item doesn’t exist.
The chained CPI also doesn’t take into account that most of us on Social Security are also on Medicare, and that as much as 40% to 60% of our monthly benefits go to paying out-of-pocket medical expenses. As anyone who is in this position knows, the prizes for medically related products has skyrocketed over the past several years. A bottle of aspirin that cost $7 a couple of years ago, now costs well over $10. And that’s the price of the store brand, not a name brand.
If they are going to recalculate our cost of living adjustments (COLAS) and benefits using the chained CPI, they need to at least recalculate our Medicare benefits so that some of this burden of out-of-pocket medical expenses is taken off of our backs. We simply cannot afford any more cuts to our benefits.
Professor Stephen Hawking, world-renowned physicist and a person who developed the theory about black holes, was subjected to a barrage of hateful jokes about his disability after joining a boycott of a scientific conference in Israel. As most people probably know, Professor Hawking has Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS (a.k.a. Lou Gehrig’s disease).
After I read this story, I was totally outraged that a disabled brother is subjected to this type of abuse just for taking a political position about a subject he is passionate about; this state of Israel‘s unlawful abuses of Palestinian human rights. These reactions over Stephen Hawking’s exercise of his free speech says volumes about how some people react when disabled people “step out of our place.”
Given that most of these people are supposedly well-educated members of the scientific community, makes expressing their anger at him over his political position by making ugly comments about his disability even more outrageous and unacceptable. Disagreeing with him is one thing, but using his disability as a weapon against him is another. It is pure ableism rearing its ugly head yet again.
Some of these people actually even have the gall to label Stephen Hawking as an anti-Semite, just because he dares take a position against Israel; something that I also have personally been accused of because I am also opposed to the state of Israel’s mistreatment of the Palestinian people. Remarks such as, “someone should release the hand brake when he’s on a hill”, “he should die already”, and “he is also crippled in the head” are not in any way acceptable to use, just because these people (if you can call them that) disagree with his position.
What is equally appalling is the fact that most media outlets probably won’t even bother to mention this story, let alone cover it in any real depth. For example, if someone had attacked Professor Hawking because of his gender, race, nationality, or sexual preference, nearly every media outlet in the world would be screaming this story from the rooftops. Why is attacking someone personally over their disability any more acceptable than the examples I mentioned? And why doesn’t the media have enough good sense to recognize this hypocrisy and double standard in the reporting of this story?
Unfortunately, this entire ugly story just further accentuates how marginalized and disrespected people with disabilities are in our society. Just when I think that disabled people may have taken another step towards equality, something like this happens and I wonder, have we really made any real progress? Even though I realize that these few people who made these ugly and hurtful statements against Professor Stephen Hawking are only a minority, it still hurts me to see my people, so cruelly attacked in this way.
I say this because I truly believe that if you hurt and insult one of us, you are hurting and insulting all of us.
Walmart exemplifies the worst possible example of a horrible “corporate citizen.” It never ceases to amaze me why people keep shopping there, especially after some of the ugly, horrible treatment they keep subjecting their workers to. Walmart has been notorious for years for abusing and discriminating against women, people of color, the disabled, and other minorities for its entire fifty-year history. Are the American people really that hard up, self-absorbed, and strung out on consumerism that they can so easily ignore these abuses just for the sake of buying cheap merchandise?
Once upon a time, people in the United States actually cared enough about their fellow person to have been outraged at the type of gross abuses dished out by Walmart. Even though I’m sure quite a few people really do care about this unacceptable situation, far too many of them seem to be able to shrug off these abuses, and keep marching towards their nearest Walmart store to fulfill their overriding consumerist desire for cheap merchandise. If they could just stop for one minute and reevaluate the situation, they probably would be able to figure out that this merchandise really wasn’t that important to them, and they would probably be just as well off without it.
Last November, one of the first posts I wrote in this blog was about the tragic Tazreen Fashions Factory fire in Bangladesh, where over 300 garment workers were killed. This “factory” (a.k.a. sweatshop) manufactured cheap clothing, primarily for Walmart. On April 27, another Walmart sweatshop in Bangladesh collapsed, killing more than 1000 garment workers. Seemingly, despite this, American consumers continue buying cheap clothing from Walmart. My big question is, why? Are you really that hard up for cheap clothes that you need to do business at such a despicable company as Walmart?
Come on people! Where the hell are your priorities? Stop allowing so-called “corporate citizens” like Walmart to control where you spend your hard-earned money. Please ask yourself this question; Am I willing to let other people suffer just for the sake of cheap merchandise that I probably really don’t need, and could just as easily buy elsewhere?
By allowing various groups to get around the educational requirements for children with disabilities, the government is basically making the statement that disabled people don’t deserve equal educational opportunities as non-disabled people. The governments double standard about education for the disabled is ugly. That is so wrong!
One of the very basic things that are always drummed into the heads of disabled people is; you absolutely must get an education, if you ever want to succeed and compete in this able-bodied world. This message has always been driven home by various governmental entities from our cradles to our graves.
So, have things really changed so much since I was a kid? Is an education for a disabled person no longer important, even though we have always been indoctrinated to believe it was? After all these years, are we somehow supposed to magically succeed in life without a good education?
I very strongly doubt it! Uncle Sam is such a hypocrite!
Sometimes, I try to look for a silver lining in every cloud, even though I am admittedly a natural-born cynic. Maybe it’s some of my old leftover hippie background, but I really don’t know. Anyway, when universal background checks for gun control was voted down by the U.S. Senate, I was absolutely livid. My anger continued for several days until I stepped back, took a deep breath, mentally regrouped, and started looking at the situation in a different light.
It then struck me that this no vote on background checks, may just be a small blessing in disguise. I say small blessing because this entire action, or it should say inaction by the Senate will delay something that this country badly needs; gun-control. The small blessing is that this whole thing could come back to bite the GOP in the ass next year, when we have our so-called “midterm” election.
As most of you probably know, in the 2014 congressional election, nearly half of the seats in the U.S. Senate and about one-third of the seats in the U.S House of Representatives are up for grabs. That means that the Republican Party could very well lose its majority in the House. It also means that the Democratic Party could gain a significant majority in the U.S. Senate. If the Democratic Party gained control of both houses of Congress, President Obama could succeed in achieving his agenda for his second term.
Even though I admittedly don’t approve of some of President Obama’s policies, particularly his current suggested cuts to Social Security and other entitlement programs, I actually do feel that his agenda is basically good. For some reason, even though I disapprove of some of the president’s actions, I basically think he is a good man who is capable of doing very good things for the middle class, lower middle class, poor, and other disadvantaged citizens.
I actually feel that if President Obama wasn’t in the unenviable position of having to make deals and compromise with the cold-blooded, Tea Party dominated Republican Party, he would have a free hand to help us, not to hurt us. Maybe that’s the optimist in me speaking, but I actually do feel that deep down he wants to help us and do good things for us.
Hopefully, after the 2014 election, we will all get a chance to find out.
Rush Limbaugh Cartoon by Ian D. Marsden of marsdencartoons.com (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It looks as though the GOP is in fear of Rush Limbaugh, but I sincerely doubt that they will ever admit it. They just seem to go along with whatever bullshit, he puts out, no matter how outrageous, racist, homophobic, xenophobic or sexist. Even though I’m pretty sure that many of them, if not most, are really smart enough to see where his hateful rhetoric is causing great harm to the Republican Party.
Finally, it seems that someone from the GOP has broken his silence about the harm that Rush Limbaugh and others like him, are doing to the GOP. Republican strategist and pollster, Frank Luntz, recently did a lecture where he openly named Limbaugh as someone who is causing huge problems for the Republican Party, and their candidates. Mr. Luntz is also very critical of others in the media whom he also feels are doing damage. However, he may have been less candid if he had known that his lecture was being secretly taped.
Ironically, Frank Luntz’s lecture was being taped in the very same way that Mitt Romney’s “secret speech,” was being taped, at a fund-raising dinner for wealthy bigwigs. As I’m sure you know, that secret tape of that Romney was a major factor in his losing the election to President Barack Obama. Also, just as ironic was the fact that this tape of Frank Luntz’s lecture was released to Mother Jones in the same way that the Mitt Romney tape was also released to them.
I have to say that I absolutely love irony, especially when it blows up in the faces of people who deserve it, like Rush Limbaugh, who is one of the most hateful people on planet Earth.
Despite overriding evidence that shows green jobs to be the largest growing segment of employment opportunities, Fox news continues to falsely say that green jobs aren’t worth the investment. They continue to be the puppets of the oil industry.
I also suspect that one major reason that Fox news insists on downplaying the positive effects that the so-called “green economy” is having on this country’s employment situation, is just another one of their lame attempts to undermine the credibility of President Barack Obama. Fox news has had it in for President Obama since before he was elected president in 2008. Their so-called “journalists” (a.k.a. no talent hacks) have prostituted themselves to the Tea Party Right, not to mention their CEO Rupert Murdoch, a well-known right-winger.
Unfortunately, many people in this country seem to think that Fox news actually has some credibility, and continues to watch their lies and believe them. That’s one reason you see so many ignorant right-wingers trolling the Internet, in an attempt to dominate blogs and comment sections at news websites.
These right-wing trolls have taken the issue of green jobs to the extreme, continuing to insist that green jobs are just some type of fad started by a bunch of long-haired tree huggers, of which I proudly proclaim myself to be. Some of them have even gone to the extent of claiming that green jobs and a green economy are somehow “un-American.” How stupid is that?
How can protecting the environment by using alternative green energy possibly be considered un-American? As far as I’m concerned, it’s un-American to do otherwise. After all, haven’t Americans always been proud of being innovative and creative? Haven’t we always bragged about our technology and how we often set a high standard of accomplishment?
Even though I sometimes think that Americans have a tendency to overplay our role in contributing to the worldwide civilization, I readily admit that the United States really has made major contributions to this world’s well-being, especially in the area of green technology. That is one thing I’m very proud of, and I sincerely hope this movement towards green technology continues.
Lately, it’s becoming increasingly clear that President Obama’s proposed usage of the “chained CPI” is just another scam designed to trick Social Security recipients into thinking that his proposed cuts to Social Security aren’t really cuts at all. According to the White House, they are just “technical adjustments”. What a crock!
As I have studied exactly what the chained CPI is, the more I realize it’s anything but just a technical adjustment, it’s a Social Security cut. Frankly, I’m very insulted that the Obama administration actually seems to think that seniors and disabled who depend on Social Security for our survival are so stupid and naïve that we can be easily tricked into believing something else. Apparently, President Obama must not be embarrassed to be the first Democratic president to even suggest cutting one of the greatest social programs ever. If President Obama is so hell-bent on cutting Social Security, merely to satisfy the GOP, he ought to at least have enough guts to just admit it.
In fact, his Press Secretary, Jay Carney, recently admitted as much. After all, the GOP has “asked” (i.e., demanded) a few things over the past few years and the president has mostly told them , “no.” So why is he so willing to go along with this outrageous idea now? Last November, President Barack Obama won the election with an overriding consensus of voters, and the Republicans were handed a very significant defeat. The president also ran on a platform that promised that both Social Security and Medicare would be left alone. Obviously, if the American people have thought that cutting Social Security was okay , they probably would’ve voted for Mitt Romney. A large part of the presidents supporters voted for him on the assumption that he would leave Social Security alone, and the polls show that.
Basically, as far as I can tell, the chained CPI is a very skewed method, the Obama administration is suggesting should be used as a tool to calculate Social Security cost-of-living increases (a.k.a. COLAs). It has been abundantly shown that this chained CPI method of calculating COLAS doesn’t really actually calculate the true cost of living increases in a way that takes into account actual inflation, and other issues. One of these issues that isn’t taken into account is the rising out-of-pocket health care costs that Social Security recipients increasingly incur; healthcare costs that should be paid by Medicare. However, since Medicare pays for less and less all the time, the burden of these out-of-pocket costs falls on us.
The logic, if you can call it that, behind the chained CPI is the ridiculous belief that, if Social Security recipients don’t receive the same amount of benefits each month we will have the opportunity of purchasing a cheaper item, or finding some type of a suitable substitute. That not only assumes that we will be able to find a substitute item, but that we will also be able to find less expensive item. In the real world, which I have a serious problem believing that President Obama is part of now, most of the time there simply isn’t a substitute item. As far as us finding a cheaper, less expensive item, most of us already buy things at the lowest price possible. Those wise people at the White House haven’t got it yet that those of us on Social Security have already been placed in this unenviable position for many years. The fact is, Social Security has always been inadequate. We haven’t been able to buy more expensive merchandise for many years, if ever.
The main problem with the White House’s way of thinking is that they don’t take into consideration that 20% to 40% of our monthly income is being spent on out-of-pocket medical expenses. Asking us to substitute a less expensive item or find some type of substitute is mostly next to impossible. If you have a medical need that is only fulfilled by Product X, you can’t just start using Product Y instead. In the same case, if you use Product X and it is already the least expensive item, how can you possibly buy anything cheaper? When placed in this tough position, many Social Security recipients will be forced to either do without some type of much-needed medication or healthcare item, or divert some of their money away from paying rent, groceries, utility bills, and other expenses. Of course no one at the White House, including the president ever even takes any of these things into consideration when coming out with this type of bullshit.
Hopefully, cooler heads in the Democratic Party will prevail and the president’s proposal to use the chained CPI will be voted down, once it reaches the halls of Congress. I sincerely hope that this growing rift in the Democratic Party, created by this foolhardy and unnecessary proposal by President Obama will not jeopardize the Democratic Party’s chances of taking back the House of Representatives in next years midterm election. President Obama needs to stop it realize that he stands to lose big time if this outrageous proposal does pass. He just may well jeopardize any plans to improve this countries situation, if he alienates not only his own party, but the support of the American people. A very large percentage of people think that the chained CPI is a very bad idea, as the polls clearly show
. If angry enough, these same people could seek some payback down the road. Whether or not he realises it, he could be very well setting up a Democratic defeat in the 2016 election.